Mary-Anne has been a CLIC Sargent Young People’s Social Worker for three years, supporting teenagers and young adults aged 16 to 24 and their families across west Wales. A major part of Mary-Anne’s job is visiting families at home and travelling across Wales to provide a package of support tailored to each young cancer patient and their family.
“I absolutely love working with people and I’ve always wanted to do a job where I’m making a real difference. Having worked in a bank before in a very impersonal set-up, I know that providing care and support in a creative, personal and interactive role is definitely right for me. I trained in Bridgend and Cardiff and got a degree in social work after working as a hospital play specialist and a nursery nurse. I then spent ten years working with families in the field of domestic abuse.
"I have worked for CLIC Sargent for three and half years, and am based in west Wales. I have a case load of approximately 20 to 25 young people across Bridgend, St David’s, Aberystwyth and Brecon.
Providing expert support
"The majority of my time is spent providing emotional support, and this can be for the young person or their brothers and sisters or mum and dad. I can be there for the whole family and will make referrals to specialist agencies such as counselling, if required. It’s very much about ‘you name it, I’ll do my best to provide it’ if the cancer is affecting what would have been the normal path of their lives.
"I think as soon as someone turns 18 society treats them in a different way, regardless of their individual needs. When a young person is diagnosed with cancer they are often treated on an adult ward, when really an 18-year-old is very different to a 40-year-old. A young person can feel really isolated on an adult ward and it’s cases like these that having a CLIC Sargent Social Worker can be very supportive.
"To ensure we offer the best service possible I attend training on a regular basis. This might be diagnosis specific such as working with brain tumour patients, or more generic training such as working with anxiety and depression. This type of training is also important to keep my social work registration current.
Being there for the whole family
"The young people that I work with are all so inspiring. They are all at such an early stage of their lives and they have so much motivation to get on with things and prepare for the future. Teenagers also have such a great sense of humour and fun. I’m surprised how resilient they can be under so much stress. I also provide palliative care and bereavement support if a family need it. My job can be terribly sad at times and the families that I work with are so inspirational.”